Global trade 2021

Join global trade policy experts and practitioners to discuss how to build a more resilient global trade system that can withstand the shocks of tomorrow. 

11 November 2021 TO 12 November 2021 — 1:00PM TO 5:00PM

Building resilience for tomorrow’s world

This year’s ‘Global trade’ conference explores the different potential shocks and broader structural changes facing global trade. Discussion focuses on how policymakers, businesses and civil society can work together to ensure a more resilient and sustainable system in the post-pandemic world.

Join an international audience of policymakers, senior business leaders, intergovernmental and multilateral organizations and other experts to engage in discussion over two days. With a focus on interactivity, key features in the virtual environment include 1:1 networking, polling, Q&A with speakers and live analysis of results.

This conference is part of the Chatham House LIVE series and is being hosted online and on the record.

Why attend?

  • Be part of the conversation on how trade practitioners can build on the work of COP26 to better harmonise trade and environmental agendas.
  • Explore how heightened geopolitical competition is increasing the likelihood of supply chain shocks.
  • Learn about the key emerging supply chain chokepoints as part of the transition towards a green and digital economy.
  • Discuss whether the future of trade will be found in regional and plurilateral agreements



Thursday 11 November (GMT – timings subject to change)

Keynote address

The Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP, Minister for Trade Policy, UK Government 

Chair: Marianne Schneider-Petsinger, Senior Research Fellow, US and the Americas Programme; Project Director, Global Trade Policy Forum, Chatham House


Harmonizing trade and environmental agendas

This session explores how, at the close of COP26, policymakers, businesses and civil society organizations can work together to better harmonize environmental and trade policy and ensure more environmentally-resilient and sustainable trading systems. 

  • How is the increasing likelihood of environmental shocks associated with the climate crisis affecting global trade?

  • How might the environmental policies that are being adopted by major economies, such as the EU Green Deal, impact international trade dynamics?

  • What are the challenges in harmonizing environmental legislation with market-based principles of fair and competitive trade and does the current guidance and legislation go far enough?

  • How will environmental considerations increasingly shape the negotiation of new free trade agreements (FTAs)?

  • How can policymakers, businesses and civil society work together to ensure more sustainable and environmentally-resilient trading systems?


Anders Aeroe, Director of the Division of Enterprises and Institutions, International Trade Centre
Elina Bardram, Head of International Relations Unit, DG Climate, European Commission
Sean Doherty, Head of International Trade and Investment, World Economic Forum
Chair: Carolyn Deere-Birkbeck, Consulting Fellow, Global Economy and Finance Programme; Associate Fellow, Sustainability Accelerator, Chatham House
Opening Remarks: Marianne Schneider-Petsinger, Senior Research Fellow, US and the Americas Programme; Project Director, Global Trade Policy Forum, Chatham House


Networking break


Resilience in an increasingly multipolar global economy

This session will explore how geopolitics is shaping global trade and how businesses can make their operations more resilient in an increasingly multipolar world.

  • What is the significance of the shift of global trade towards the Asia-Pacific?
  • What is the outlook for US-China trade relations?
  • How will it impact broader trade dynamics, such as for the EU, UK and other countries?
  • To what extent has the Biden administration marked a new chapter in global trade relations?
  • What is the significance of the EU’s new trade strategy?
  • How are increasing geopolitical tensions shaping the trading environment for businesses?


Masamichi Ito, Director, Industrial Research, JETRO
Yu Jie, Senior Research Fellow on China, Asia-Pacific Programme, Chatham House
Stewart Paterson, Research Fellow, Hinrich Foundation
Chair: Ryan Avent, Trade & International Economics Editor, The Economist


Networking break


The rise-and-rise of digital trade

This session explores the continuing growth of intangibles as part of global trade, its implications for existing trade structures as well as redefining what supply chain resilience means for the digital age.

  • In what ways is the continued rise of intangibles reshaping the global trade system?

  • Is the rise of digital trade leading to the democratization of international trade? If so, what could the implications of this be?

  • How has the rise in intangibles led to the need for new infrastructure and services as well as internationally agreed standards and regulations to better support this system?

  • What could be the role of FTAs in enabling trade in intangibles?

  • What are the key emerging vulnerabilities of digital supply chains and how can the resilience of digital trade be ensured?


Sabina Ciofu, Head of EU and UK Trade Policy, Tech UK
Joshua Meltzer, Senior Fellow, Global Economy and Development, Brookings Institute
Nicolas Schubert, Head, Department of Digital Economy, Undersecretariat of International Economic Affairs, Chile
Chair: Linda Yueh, Associate Fellow, Global Economy and Finance Programme and US and the Americas Programme, Chatham House 


End of day one


Friday 12 November (GMT – timings subject to change)

Keynote address

Ambassador Katherine Tai, US Trade Representative, US Government 

Chair: Creon Butler, Research Director, Trade, Investment and New Governance Models, and Director, Global Economy and Finance Programme, Chatham House


How can we address key supply chain vulnerabilities?

This session will discuss how trade practitioners and policymakers can work together to address critical supply chain chokepoints and reimagine supply chains for a 21st century economy, without sliding into protectionism. 

  • What are the key lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, for building resilient critical supply chains?
  • How are industry leaders and policymakers rethinking efficiency-driven and globalised approaches to supply chains?
  • What could be the key future vulnerabilities in supply chains, as countries transition towards a green and digital economy?
  • In what different ways can governments support the increased resilience of critical supply chains?
  • How can different governments work together at an international level to ensure supply chain resilience, while continuing to promote economic openness?


Professor Beata Javorcik, Chief Economist, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Tim McLaughlin, Executive Director, Trade Analytics and Industry Solutions, Maritime and Trade, IHS Markit
Martijn Rasser, Senior Fellow and Director, Technology and National Security Program, Center for a New American Security
Chair: Marianne Schneider-Petsinger, Senior Research Fellow, US and the Americas Programme, Chatham House 


Networking break


Does the future of trade belong to regional and plurilateral agreements?

This session will explore the rise of regional and plurilateral agreements as part of global trade and their implications for the multilateral trade system.

  • What factors have contributed to the proliferation of regional and plurilateral agreements?

  • In what different ways are these agreements going beyond existing trade rules to address the demands of the modern global economy? 

  • To what extent are these regional agreements complementing or undermining the multilateral trading system?

  • How can regional and plurilateral arrangements best be integrated into the WTO framework?


Angela Ellard, Deputy Director General, World Trade Organisation
H.E. Wamkele Mene, Secretary General, African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)
Tetsuya Watanabe, Vice-President, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI)
Sabine Weyand, Director General Trade, European Commission
Chair: Rem Korteweg, Senior Research Fellow, Clingendael Institute 


End of day two



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